15 MB of Fame: Never-Before-Seen Digital Art by Andy Warhol


Making art with a computer ain’t easy. Just ask Andy Warhol. The American icon mastered numerous art forms and shaped our culture with his work. But a newly-discovered collection of files from 41 floppy disks—yes, floppy disks—shows that he struggled with early digital design tools. Today, members of Carnegie Mellon University’s Computer Club and STUDIO for Creative Inquiry in Pittsburgh released a previously unseen set of images Warhol created in the 1980s using a Commodore Amiga 1000. (That used to be a type of computer, kids.)

The work was discovered after artist Cory Arcangel found a fuzzy You Tube video from 1985. In it Warhol sits next to Blondie singer Debbie Harry and uses the Amiga to paint her digital portrait. Jonathan Gaugler of the Carnegie Museum of Art says Arcangel was “relatively sure” the disks containing Warhol’s digital prints would be housed in the Warhol Museum. Sure enough, they were. But, Gaugler says, “It’s risky. Because reading them in a drive, there is a chance of wiping it just by trying.”

So the museum’s curator, Tina Kukielski, connected Arcangel with the Carnegie Mellon’s Computer Club, which wrote original code to safely read the data without damaging it. The process was captured in the upcoming documentary film series The Invisible Photograph, premiering May 10 at the Carnegie Library Lecture Hall.

Here are some of Warhol’s digital works, and stills from documentary showing how they were retrieved. Enjoy—while listening to Blondie if you can:

Image: Andy2

“Andy 2” Andy Warhol, 1985, ©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visuals Arts, Inc., courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum
Image: soup

Campbell’s Andy Warhol, 1985, ©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visuals Arts, Inc., courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum
Image: Venus

“Venus”, 1985, ©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visuals Arts, Inc., courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum Andy Warhol
Image: Corey Arcangel

Amber Morgan of the Andy Warhol Museum and Cory Arcangel in The Invisible Photograph, Part II – Trapped: Andy Warhol’s Amiga Experiments © Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
Image: Amiga computer

Commodore Amiga computer equipment used by Andy Warhol between 1985-86 Courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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